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Concert Review: Doro w/ Chris Caffery, Purgatory Injustice, Lost Legacy, Left in Ruins (June 8,2007)

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As embarrassing as it is for a metal fan to say, my first experience with Doro Pesch came mere weeks ago when I received a copy of the Warrior Soul DVD. I had heard of her, or course, but for some reason I had never listened to a Doro or Warlock album. What I found in that concert is a charismatic frontwoman with a fantastic voice performing catchy heavy metal, so when I had the chance to catch her live, I jumped at the opportunity, and I was not disappointed. The night was filled with some excellent music, and I recommend that if you get the chance, you take it.

The show started with a local act called Left in Ruins. I had heard of them, but this was my first shot at seeing them live. They played a mix of death and extreme metal, featuring a veritable wall of guitar that surged their music forward. They have three guitar players, each offering something different to the whole, making the music better in the end. First, they have the crushing riff guy, he delivers the bass rhythms that get you to bang your head, pump your fist, and get the energy going. Next to him was the vocalist/guitarist, who delivered some nice speedy technical sounding solos, while the third guitarist was the feel guy, he had solos that were high on technique, but also had a lot of feeling to them.

Three distinct guitar sounds building the wall of noise that seems to be the bands trademark, and they were quite impressive. The rhythm section was solid, keeping everything going. Vocals were raw growls that did not really stand out from other death/extreme acts, but did not disappoint. Overall, with a few minor timing issues, these guys were very good and I would definitely be interested in further performances from them.

Changing speeds, the second band stepped away from the extreme and moved into the progressive metal sounds. Lost Legacy is a name that seems to be gaining some momentum, based on conversation with a few others at the show. They took the stage with a look that was a cross between Coheed & Cambria and Dream Theater, and a sound that was reminiscent of Dream Theater and Symphony X. They brought a strong technical sound to the stage with some blazing guitar and keyboard solos, and powerful singing. They definitely put on an electrifying set, with a ton of technical prowess while retaining a strong emotional base.

The biggest issue with them was that the music was not all that catchy, it lacked any strong hooks to really draw me in and make it memorable, that is until the final song, where all the pieces seemed to fall into place. I would really like to see them again. With a little more discipline and focus, they could become a real mover.

Somehow, the timing was thrown off for the night, meaning this third opener was only afforded time for two songs. Frankly, we probably could have done without them and saved the time altogether. Purgatory Injustice was just not the right sound for this show. Now, you would think that with a name like Purgatory Injustice they would deliver some hard hitting metal of some style. That just was not the case. They sounded more like Breaking Benjamin, not very metal at all. They also lacked something in the charisma department. However, they looked young and with a bit more work and a more appropriate show they would probably do very well. If anything, they should have been at the front of the bill, rather than providing the metallic break that they did.

Chris Caffery was on the bill, pulling double duty no less. The guitarist/vocalist has had a nice career of solo material as well as playing with Savatage and Trans-Siberian Orchestra. In addition to touring as one of Doro's opening acts, he is also filling the shoes of guitarist for Doro on the tour. He came out wearing a tux style jacket with big cuffs and tails over an AC/DC t-shirt. The cuffs were spotted with Christmas-style lights and the front collar was lined with marquee style flashing chaser lights. It was definitely a look, and not necessarily a good one.

Look aside, Caffery is a solid guitar player and put on a great, albeit shortened set of mostly original material. He opened with "Edge of Darkness," followed by the Savatage track "Edge of Thorns." There is no denying the talent and showmanship he possesses, which was probably amplified by the presence of his mother and sister at the show. His fingers flew over solos, laid down great rhythms, and his voice was spot on. Just passed the mid-point of the set we were treated to a drum solo, which was pretty amazing. He closed his set with a rousing rendition of "Pisses Me Off," which is just a blast and plays great live.

Not too long after Caffery left with his band, he re-emerged with the rest of Doro's band. I found it amazing how well he was able to command the stage, turn around and be a part player (a big part to be sure), how he could relinquish center stage. Maybe it isn't as amazing as I thought it was, but it sured seemed so to me.

The lights dimmed, the band started playing and then the diminutive frame of the Metal Queen, Doro Pesch, arrived on stage to the cheers of the crowd. She held the crowd in the palm of her hand, watching her incredible store of energy move her around the stage powering that voice was a sight to behold. She was one of the first women to front a metal band, and to see her going strong after more than twenty years is fantastic.

The set opened with "Earthshaker Rock," a seemingly perfect opener. It is high energy and invited us to become involved with the show. What can I say? Doro Pesch is a fantastic performer, and she was in top form, ripping through song after song, taking time to let us know how much she appreciates the fans and how much love she is giving back to all of us. Song after song poured out of her, while the band was rock solid. Like with Caffery's set, we got an extended drum solo from Doro's drummer, which was amazing.

The evening's set list contained songs spanning her entire career, with Warlock songs such as "Burning the Witches," "East Meets West," and "Lady in a Rock 'n Roll Hell," as well as solo releases such as "Hellraiser," and a number of cuts from her recent Warrior Soul album like "You're My Family," "Strangers Yesterday," and "Above the Ashes." The set closed with a great rendition of "All We Are," which even a rookie such as myself could sing along with. They performed a three song encore with "Warrior Soul" and "Haunted Heart."

All things considered, this was an excellent night of heavy metal, a variety of styles, and a lot of skill was on display. Doro's performance was the perfect night cap, she is still at the top of her game after all these years, add Chris Caffery to the mix and you have a great combination of talents. I just wish that more people were there to enjoy it. If you have the opportunity to catch her live, do so, you will not be disappointed.

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